Look around your neighorhood and you will probably see a massage parlor. Some are legitimate, with professional massage therapists whose extensive medical knowledge can help clients recover from surgery or injury. Other legitimate massage businesses provide massage therapy to relax muscles, help relieve stress, and boost energy. Unfortunately, many are illicit businesses where sexual services are provided, usually by women who are victims of human trafficking. The X-rated massage places were examined in a recent episode of "This is Life with Lisa Ling". The episode addressed the ubiquitousness of the illicit side of the massage industry, showed how they operate, discussed the complexities of law enforcement towards those businesses, and mentioned that the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced new hazards for the workers and the public. (Legitimate massage businesses have been shuttered since last March's stay-at-home orders.)
Sex trafficking is the act of forcing, coercing, or transporting a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act. These crimes are primarily committed against women and children. Sex trafficking can occur in residential brothels, brothels disguised as massage parlors, strip clubs, and via online escort services and street prostitution.Attorney General Kamala Harris, "The State of Human Trafficking in California 2012" (CA Department of Justice, 2012)
The New York Times published an article about X-rated massage businesses in March of 2019, building off the national news about New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft's solicitation of prostitution at one such place. The Lisa Ling documentary, which aired on CNN, reached a wider audience. It is good for more people to become aware of the illicit massage industry, because the number of these businesses is enormous and their exploitation of their workers is both illegal and shameful. Do you know about the massage businesses in our community? Can you tell which ones are legitimate small businesses and which ones are on the shady side? Are these businesses appropriate for our community? The illicit ones are all over the place, in cities and in unincorporated communities. In an October 3, 2020 article, the Bee stated that about 175 such businesses operate in the unincorporated UnCity. Your eyeballs will probably tell you that we have an overabundance right here in our part of the UnCity. Hmmm. Wonder why? If you are a regular reader of our blog, you can probably guess the answer correctly.